Three years after the largely successful ‘Year of Return’ campaign in 2019, Ghana has become the favourite destination for black people in the diaspora and now through the arts.
The ‘Year of Return’ is a major landmark spiritual and birth-right journey inviting the Global African family, home and abroad, to mark 400 years of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Jamestown, Virginia. The arrival of enslaved Africans marked a sordid and sad period, when Africans were forcefully taken away from Africa into years of deprivation, humiliation and torture.
According to theafricareport.com, Chicago-based Vic Mensa and Chance The Rapper are rallying the diaspora to permanently contribute their skills and capital to the cocoa-rich west African country.
When US-based rapper Vic Mensa visited Ghana in 2020 it didn’t take long for him to decide to cultivate meaningful relationships that will keep him deeply connected to his ancestry.
Leveraging his talent and influences, he birthed an idea to create a common platform that will bridge the gap between black people and artistes in the diaspora with Africa.
In the first week of January, Mensa and his old pal Chance the Rapper hosted the inaugural Black Star Line Festival in Accra which features a weeklong series of events and panels across the capital and a climax music concert.
Throughout the Christmas holidays Ghana hosted some of the continent’s largest music concerts and festivals themed on Africa’s diverse cultures and the vibrant creative sector.
‘Detached from the mother continent’
The Black Star Line Festival, drawing inspiration from civil rights leader Marcus Garvey’s iconic 1919 shipping line will differ slightly, offering avenues for education and cultural diffusion.
“Black Americans have become detached from the mother continent, not just physically but also mentally but it’s time to accept who we are as African people. The idea for the festival came after I sat back and looked at how we as Black American artists have performed ten-times over in places like Europe before we ever make it to do a show in Africa,” Mensa tells The Africa Report.
“I’m starting this festival so that we can not only perform for our African fans, but it is also my vision to immerse the artists in Ghanaian cultural experiences while they are here,” he adds.